Congratulations! You’ve finally done it. You’ve built your first website and it’s online.
Now you can just wait for the orders to flood in.
The simple fact is that once your site is online the hard work of promoting it has just started. Unfortunately ‘just having a website’ isn’t enough these days. There are so many websites out there that in order to stand out you need to know how to market yourself online if you are to stand any chance of getting found.
But don’t panic – help is at hand. We’ve been there, done it and got the T-shirt. We’re going to explain 5 classic mistakes that people make with their first websites and we’re going to explain exactly how to avoid them so that you understand how to hit the deck running and dramatically improve your chances of success.
What You’ll Learn In This Post
- You’ll discover that most websites don’t have enough content and an easy way to address this
- How Google indexes websites and how to make Google LOVE your site
- Why a blog is one of the most important parts of your website and how to generate content that will attract loads of visitors
- Why Backlinks are the key to online success and why they’re easier to get that you think
- Why your happy customers hold the key to your success
Mistake #1 – Not Enough Content
For some reason most new websites just don’t have enough content.
And that’s a problem because Google doesn’t like ‘thin’ websites. Google prefers websites with more (and better quality) content. How much content? Well a recent study we did on over 540 UK B2B websites showed that ‘Best in Class’ websites who get a top 3 position in the search rankings typically have 104 pages, whereas the Industry Average is just 48.
The quickest and easiest way to do address this is to create more service pages. For example, if you are an accountant, don’t just have a generic services page listing all your services. Create separate pages for EACH service (payroll, annual returns, PAYE, Investments, Personal Tax, Company Formation, Auditing, etc..).
This is a really important point because it allows you to cast a wider net and give Google some really important information about who you are and the EXACT products or services that you offer.
Now in terms of the length of each page, this is another important point. Most websites’ pages are just too short. Ideally they should be a minimum 500 words per page or 1000 if you can.
Now before you say that you can’t think how to do that, try this little exercise. Imagine that a prospective client phones you and they ask you about a particular product or service that you offer. Run through an imaginary conversation. You’d tell them all about the pros and cons, the advantages, benefits, etc. to try to make sure that they understand it.
Maybe you would make a comparison with alternatives and help them understand everything they need to make an informed decision. Use Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) & answer every possible question you can think of.
This content serves two audiences – the search engines like Google and your prospective clients. People want to be educated and they are information hungry so you are really killing two birds with one stone.
Write it all done and you’ll soon see that finding 500 words is easy.
So come on, get cracking and let’s get that valuable extra content up there for Google and for your prospective clients.
Mistake #2 – Not Optimizing Pages
Don’t be put off by words like ‘optimization’. These are just industry jargon.
Basically, if you want to get visitors to your website then you need to make sure that you follow certain best practices in the design of your website. In particular you need to pay attention to the following:
- Keyword in text
- Internal Linking
Let’s quickly run through them so you know exactly what to do.
Google needs you to give it clues as to what you do. One really powerful way to do this is to use Keywords. For example, if you are a commercial cleaning company in Brighton then an appropriate keyword would be ‘Commercial Cleaner Brighton’. That’s what people are likely to search on.
Now this is a huge subject in its own right, but the really important takeaway is that you need to come up with a list of keywords for your site and you also need to vary them so that you have different keywords for different pages and that each set of keywords matches the content of that page.
Again, don’t get hung up about the jargon – these are just bits of code in your website that help Google understand the content of a page. The two most important metatags are:
- Page Title (roughly 67 characters in length)
- Meta Description (roughly 180 characters in length)
You’ll notice these in the search results in Google – they’re the 3 lines that they display so you know what to click on.
Basically you need to make use of these. Above we talked about keywords and this is where you start putting them to use.
So, if you are a local business then make sure you include the Industry (Commercial Cleaning) and the areas you cover (Brighton, Hove, Lewes, Sussex). Again, our Local B2B research showed this clearly – Best in Class websites are far more likely to include the industry AND the location in their metatags.
URL is more jargon. It stands for Uniform Resource Locator and all it means is the address of a particular page of a website.
Again, we need to go back to the keywords and you need to include them in our URLs where possible.
Previously we looked at creating more pages. So let’s say that you are a Training Company based in Solihull and you have created a page for all of the different training courses you run, so you have a page for Health and Safety Training.
Rather than calling it something bland like www.YOURCOMPANY.com/trainingcourse1 you should call it www.YOURCOMPANY.com/health-and-safety-training-courses-solihull
Remember to do this for every page and you’ll be sending all the right signals to Google.
If you’ve ever used a word processing software like Word or Google Docs then you’ll be familiar with Headings. They help give logical structure to your document. This is important for Google as it helps it to ‘read’ each page.
It’s the same with your website. Create one H1 Heading on every page that includes your keyword for that page. So in the example above you could create an H1 Heading that says ‘Fully Accredited Health and Safety Training Courses in Our Solihull Training Centre’.
There are also H2 and H3 Headings that you can use, but the most important is the H1 and only use one on each page.
Keyword in Text
Remember we talked about creating long pages with at least 500 words per page? OK, all this point is about is remembering to include your keywords and close variations of it in the text so that you send those messages to Google about the content on that page.
No need to go crazy though – aim for 2 to 3% use. O if you have 500 words you need to use it maybe 10 or so times. Just make it read naturally but remember to include them.
Ok so you’ve got lots of pages, with lots of content – great. The final thing you need to do is to link between your pages. Again, no need to go crazy, but just naturally find opportunities to link from one page to another in the text.
So let’s say you are a printing company. You offer Digital Printing and Litho Printing. You have a page for each and you have given loads of useful information about each service. Now you can find the opportunity to link to the other pages and include the keyword or a variant of it in the link.
For example, on the Digital Printing page you might say something like “If you need a more traditional finish then our Litho Printing Service will give you the perfect result” and then link ‘Litho Printing Service’ to the Litho Printing page (the jargon for this is the ‘anchor text’).
Mistake #3 – No Blog
One of the best things you can do when starting out is to create a blog section on your site. Google loves websites with blogs that create content on an ongoing basis.
Think of your blog as being active – it is updated frequently whereas your product and service pages are more static – they don’t change very often.
A blog is your chance to demonstrate your expertise. It enables you to target the questions that people are looking for answers to. It also gives extra content for Google to index.
Fortunately there is a really easy way to add a blog section to your website. It’s called WordPress and it’s free and easy to install using a one click installation in your hosting control panel.
Also blogging means your social media is a lot easier because you have stuff to share with your audience.
Now people often say to us that they just aren’t sure where to start with blogging or how anyone could possibly be interested in what they have to say. So here are some ideas for you.
To get started just start your blog with the most frequently asked questions that prospective clients have. This just helps you to get used to writing there’s no need to try to cover everything in one mammoth blog post. Break things down into little chunks. Try to make your posts a minimum of 500 words in length.
For every piece of content you post to your blog remember to optimize it in the same way you did your product and service pages. Here’s the checklist:
- Keyword in text
- Internal Linking
Once you’ve got a bit of confidence then you can start to branch out and publish more content. This is known as Content Marketing and fortunately there are some proven content frameworks you can use. Here are some ideas for you:
Business To Consumer (B2C) Blog Ideas
- Local Guides
- Local News
- Local Features
- How to Guides
- Buyer’s Guides
- List Based Content (21 Ways to do XYZ)
- Product Reviews
- Checklist Content
- Video Advice
Business To Business (B2B) Blog Ideas
- Definitive Guides
- How To Guides
- Best Practice Guides
- Case Studies
- Buyer’s Guides
- Expert Roundups
Mistake #4 – Not Getting Easy Links
Link building is the process of getting other people’s websites to link to yours. It is one of the best ways to get a higher ranking in the search results. A better ranking means more visitors and that means more business for you.
So link building is vital but it is not actually as difficult as people think. Let’s start with the quick, easy wins.
Other easy wins are to get some links from local suppliers. Just write a testimonial for them and email it over with a note saying you’d be happy for them to use it on their website and you’re happy for them to link to your site so people can see it’s genuine.
Also there are loads of high quality local directories which offer local business listings. These are often referred to as NAP Citations (Name, Address and Phone) and depending on the country you are in there are different NAP directories to choose from.
Finally, don’t forget industry and authority directory listings. If you are a member of a particular industry or sector then check if there are niche specific directories. For the Authority Directories like Business.com there may be an annual fee involved so you need to make that judgement call, but usually the are worth the investment.
Not Getting Reviews
Check those local listings again. Can you notice something the top sites have in common?
You got it. They have more reviews. That means that the businesses with most Google reviews get the most traffic. But getting reviews is about as difficult as sending an email to your best customers. You know who they are. You’re on first name terms and they’re always happy to see you. Even better they’re always referring friends and colleagues to you.
Start with them – just email the link to your Google My Business Listing and let them know you’d really appreciate a review and their feedback. 9 times out of 10 they’re more than happy to oblige.
Make asking for reviews an integral part of your business. There’s no need to go crazy, just get into the habit of asking for them every week & soon you’ll be sitting pretty at the top of the rankings.
Getting your first website up is just the start of your journey. If you want to get more business through your website then you just need to follow the five steps we’ve outlined.
Start by creating more content. That means service specific pages with minimum 500 words. Next you need to optimize all of your pages with keywords in your metatags, URLs, Headings, text and links between pages.
You’re an expert and your blog is where you demonstrate this. Google will reward you for providing all of that new content and use proven types of content like Definitive Guides, Buyers Guides and Expert Roundups.
You’ll need some backlinks if you want more traffic. Start with the quick wins like local listings and social media profiles. Local suppliers, local directories and industry directories are also easy wins.
Finally, notice that the best ranked local businesses have the most Google Reviews. Get into the habit of asking for reviews and you’ll soon pick them up.
So which of these will you start with? Are you doing any of these already? Leave us a comment below and share your experiences.